Tag Archive: Space



The FrescoThe Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate it when I do this: read a book, finish before I’m sleepy, start a new book and nearly forget to write my review of the last book! Boo! Me! And this book deserves reviews!!!

My friend, Kay, gave such a marvelous review that I knew I had to read it. I highly recommend it!

It has everything. Aliens, other planets, other points of view. The main character is female, Benita, who finds herself in a bad, abusive marriage. She is looking to get out and not be found.

What finds her is new opportunities the likes no one would expect to happen. That is all I can give you without feeling I’m spoiling it for you.

Needless to say, there is adventures and space travel, and meeting alien beings. Like all good sci-fi, this has a lot of philosophical, political, social, and spiritual commentary. Much of it tongue-in-cheek humor that may cause snorting of the hot tea if not careful.

If you get the chance to read this, you should. I’m sorry that it isn’t loanable. Seems many Benitas out there might not be able to afford it but would benefit from the read. Benitas need humor, escapism, and ideas. In fact, I think everyone could learn something and enjoy this story.

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A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give this book 20 stars? This is MY kind of sci-fi! No wars and shooting and one-up-manship. We get to know another social order, the good and bad of it. We watch someone growing up within and without that order. We get to know other beings. We get to travel in space. There just happens to be males and females. In this case, a female lead but it could as easily have been a male. Good choice to have a female to have the adventure. YAY! Male in the story, not necessarily a romantic counter point. A friend. Believe it or not!!!!

Though this is book two in the series it could stand alone. But if you get the chance to read the first book, do so. It was fun, too! You can find my review of the first book in GoodReads under The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

What I think I liked best about this book is how the author took us into a young girl’s thoughts without making us feel childish or talking down to us. And how well she matured said girl through the years helping the reader feel that maturity and sense of growth. How a sense of time alone doesn’t become boring as it might if we lived it, but a chance to learn and explore ideas and abilities.

Oh, and one of my favorite reasons for reading sci-fi is to learn new philosophies or enjoy those we might have left behind for a revisit now. I think Becky Chambers may be my new favorite sci-fi author!

This book is now on my gotta buy the Kindle and Audible versions so I can reread it soon!

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Hold Back the StarsHold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t like romance, well, maybe the occasional You Got Mail or Nottinghill, but mostly I find them boring. I DO love me some space, dystopia, futuristic sci-fi. This book has all four elements. Within the science fiction setting there just happens to be a love story. It was fun!

Spoilers are threatening to spill out of me as I write this and seem to be overwhelming my brain. I seem not to be able to give more of my opinion without them and I refuse to put them here.

I might like to read this again. I can think, if the author would like the suggestion, of a way to make a book two, or at least an alternative ending. As it is I think she did put in two different endings.

If any of my friends read this, and I hope they do, I hope we can have a bit of a discussion about the endings.

This story will stay with me for a while. Think of Gravity the movie mixed with a strange dystopic earth threatened by meteors. SO GOOD!

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Catalyst (Tales of the Barque Cats, #1)Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While perusing my local library system’s site of ebooks and audios I saw the second book in this series by one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey. Well, I hate starting in the middle of a series so I bought the first one and the Audible version to go with it.

If you love cats and space travel adventures, this is the book for you. I thought it was going to be too much fluff, a childish book, a book about kitty cats. I was wrong. This gave a new perspective about cats and space travel.

I just happen to have a polydactyl black cat and I have wondered if, with the right training, all those toes could be used like our hands. Could she be a Barque cat? Could she fly a space ship? My husband and I spend our retired days trying to read our cats’ and new dog’s minds. Sometimes we think we know them pretty well. We provide the words to the bubbles over their heads. Just imagine if instead of watching the mice for entertainment if they could kill the space alien?

Anyway, this was fun and I didn’t stop between the two books and got right into book two. I have to admit to wishing there was more! R.I.P. Anne McCaffrey. I miss you!

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Sky DragonsSky Dragons by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a bittersweet book. Published after our Pern Queen, Anne McCaffrey passed. That acknowledgement is at the beginning of the book and set the tone. At least it did for me.

I already had the hardback so all I needed was the audio. I borrowed that from the library. Now I have this on my Audible wishlist. Once again, Emily Durante was the narrator. She is excellent! Her acting skills shine in this recording.

In this book, the McCaffrey’s join the 21st century breaking the dragon-glass ceiling for those who love differently, for women. Feminists erupted from Pern and showed they could do anything the guys could. With the framework set up by Fiona and Larana in the previous books Xhinna sets out to save Pern from total destruction by thread. Illnesses cut the human and dragon populations and in the following passes of thread all could die. Xhinna comes up with some solutions, much of it trial and error but she is strong and pushes the envelopes of what she should be able to do. Just as her ‘sisters’ before her, Xhinna loves deeply and uncommonly. From that love, she finds uncommon answers.

It makes me sad that this may be the last Pern novel. Of course, I still have a few in the middle that I haven’t read yet. But knowing the chronological ending of the series just makes me feel SO sad! I will have to make sure to reread all of these again later. Even still, it astonishes me at how much story Ms. McCaffrey was able to create from this one planet. The mass of world and personality maps and charts of information, she and Todd must have sitting around … well, it must be amazing!

If you get the chance to read the entire series, do so! If I had to narrow it down, I think these last three, starting with Stargirl written by both mother and son, with the narration of Emily Durante, are the best ones of all!

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Dragon's Kin (Pern)Dragon’s Kin by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes a person has to do with what they can afford and/or find at the time. Found, at the library the hardback and the audio CDs of this book available at the same time! Score! And I own the next four hardbacks waiting for me on my own bookshelves. Problem with those is I don’t have the audio/Audible versions to help me out. So it may take a while until I can read them.

Meanwhile, I had a lot of fun reading/listening to this. Dick Hill did the narration. And I think he did a better job acting out this one than others in the Pern series before. Maybe it was the writing combo of Anne and Todd McCaffrey. Maybe I was just more receptive of the story. At any rate, I just found this more fun. And I am glad that those left-over beasts of the original research that resulted in dragons, the watch-whers, can have their day in the Pernese sun. And I loved the kids that were the main characters.

I can never get enough of Anne McCaffrey’s work. Glad her son joined in the fun. I look forward to reading more by both. R.I.P. Anne.

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The Art FacultyThe Art Faculty by P. J. Vye

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I picked this e-book up from BookRooster dot com quite a while ago. Sorry that I am just now getting to it.

This story was unique. It started out with a recently orphaned teen. I liked her right away. Since it was so long ago that I was sent this book, I couldn’t figure out why I got it. I just kept reading. And even though it was written in the present tense, and in the first person, I got used to it. It wasn’t long into the story that I saw that the story was a science fiction. Space flight, other worlds. Yay! My kind of story!

Look, really, this got me as it was the right-brainers, the creative, musical, artistic, and dramatic save the day. How often does that happen in sci-fi? And the main character is a female and she is the hero though not in her own mind. Yes, there is a bit of romance, but it isn’t the guiding force. I hope I haven’t given spoilers. There is so much in this seemingly quiet story. Action takes over the end of the story. Meanwhile, get to know what the main character is going through. There was so much that I could relate to.

I hope P. J. Vye, the author will get this out for the general public. This would have been a favorite story for me as a teen. There are others who will love it, too!

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Semper AudaciaSemper Audacia by M. Pax

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A space opera novelette. This was more like it! Though this wasn’t a full size novel or series, I felt satisfied. The depth of character, world-building, plot, action, adventure, all left me feeling like I’d been to outer-space, meet new beings, experienced friendships, saved and lost lives. In fact, this little book crammed more in than many long series I’ve read.

All that said, I found myself lost trying to figure out if this were memory or the present. In the end, it all sorts itself out. Maybe the author wanted that bit of confusion.

I recommend this little prize to my fellow sci-fi friends.

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Semper AudaciaSemper Audacia by M. Pax

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A space opera novelette. This was more like it! Though this wasn’t a full size novel or series, I felt satisfied. The depth of character, world-building, plot, action, adventure, all left me feeling like I’d been to outer-space, meet new beings, experienced friendships, saved and lost lives. In fact, this little book crammed more in than many long series I’ve read.

All that said, I found myself lost trying to figure out if this were memory or the present. In the end, it all sorts itself out. Maybe the author wanted that bit of confusion.

I recommend this little prize to my fellow sci-fi friends.

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Review: Shafter


Shafter Shafter by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve year old Darlene would have LOVED this book. Yet at 64 I love it even deeper. As a kid, reading about Trina’s adventures on her home world while dreaming of space travel would have captured my heart, as that was my dream. As an older adult, I can see the fuller picture that includes the choices Trina and her sister, Katie, must make as they grow to become adults.

 

Feminism embraces these choices. The old world explorers knew some of these choices. Stay with the family you know or explore. Meeting new people and finding yourself in new family happens, our population wouldn’t be so large if that wasn’t the case. But then which dream to do you follow? Do you stay or do you go? Can you live without your loved ones? Would they want you to? All these questions are addressed within a tight, well-written story I didn’t want to leave.

 

You know those tales you leave with sadness, that make you read slower to savor your time with the characters but the plot won’t let you? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with this book. I am so glad to know Margaret McGaffey-Fisk! Maybe I can put peer pressure on her to make this a series? What an excellent read!

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